Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkey Goodness

Hello everyone.

As we wrap up November 2011, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this past October marked five years of me doing this blog. Yay!

Of course, I probably should have mentioned that last month when it was actually five years to the day, not today. What's the point in celebrating a five year, one month, and two day anniversary?

But I didn't realize I'd passed the five year milestone until a couple days ago. I have a hard enough time remembering my own birthday, let alone my blog's birthday, so cut me some slack.

I've been teaching myself HTML and CSS lately. I'm also planning on learning Javascript and some other computer languages, programs, and/or software in the near future. I have an idea for a website that I'm going to try to build myself, either from scratch or by customizing a template. I had been thinking about trying to find someone to build the site for me, but then I just thought, "Why can't I build it myself?" I already have some basic HTML experience from this blog, from our photo site, and from other projects, and I'm fairly intelligent, so why not learn how to do it myself?

But I'm quickly discovering that this sort of stuff is incredibly tedious to study. It's not terribly difficult--it's just all right-brain stuff. Or is it left brain? I always confuse the two. What I'm trying to say is that it's all logical stuff. So I find myself walking around with a headache most of the time. Maybe it's just a tumor and completely unrelated to the HTML and CSS language stuff. Or not.

I think it will be much easier once I start playing around with the language instead of just studying it. I'm probably going to fool around with the colors and fonts and formatting right here on this blog. I won't make any big changes (at least not on purpose) because after five years, I'm used to this layout the way it is. But I used the stock Blogger template when I first started this blog, and I'm really bored with it. So I'll probably change the colors at the very least.

The new project won't have much to do with what I do here, so I plan on continuing with this blog. Although, the new project will kinda involve Tucker. Stay tuned.

Thanksgiving News

Well, the turkey we made seemed to be a hit because Cathy and I sure got lots of compliments. I think if we're going to do it again, barbecuing is definitely the way to go. Here's what we did:

We started with an 18 pound turkey. I didn't want one that big, but it was the smallest one we found. Also, full disclosure: I broke one of my rules and didn't get a sustainably-raised turkey, mainly because a sustainably-raise turkey would've cost around $100 and required a drive to Spokane. So we caved and went to the local Safeway instead.

Here's how we prepared it. We thawed it in the beer fridge for a few days prior to Thanksgiving. By Thursday morning it still hadn't thawed all the way, so we soaked it in cold water in the sink for a half hour or so. Meanwhile, we:
  • Cored two apples and cut them into chunks
  • Peeled two Mandarin oranges and split them into segments
  • Diced a couple stalks of celery 
  • Diced an onion
  • Peeled several (don't remember how many) cloves of garlic and cut them in half.
We mixed all those ingredients with some fresh sage and stuffed it into the cavity.  Then we coated the turkey skin with melted butter.  Finally, we put the stuffed bird in a roasting pan and put the neck, giblets, and extra stuffing in the pan around the turkey, and added a cup or so (didn't measure) of white wine to the pan.

For the barbecue, I started a chimney of "real wood" charcoal (in Eugene I used to get mesquite charcoal, but the closest I can find here is "real wood"--it doesn't say what kind).  When the coals were ready, I dumped them in the barbecue and put the turkey pan on the grill.  It barely fit under my Weber barbecue lid.  I started a second chimney, and when that was ready, I added it to the first, along with some mesquite chips that had been soaking in water.

From then on, we checked the barbecue every once in a while to baste the turkey and see how things were going.  Incidentally, we couldn't find a turkey baster (though I'm sure we have one somewhere in the house), so Cathy went to Safeway to buy one, and of course they were all sold out.  All they had was one meat injector, which she picked up.  It actually worked better than a baster because we could baste with it and inject juice into the turkey.

A couple hours in, I added a third chimney of charcoal, and that was all I needed in total.

About four hours or so after we started, it was done.  Here's what it looked like:

Not bad, eh?

We also made slow cooker stuffing and garlicky mashed potatoes.  My sister made sweet potatoes, homemade bread, and a couple desserts, while my nephew's wife (my niece-in-law?) made salad and another dessert, and my niece brought drinks and deviled eggs.  Everything was fantastic (except the deviled eggs, which I think are always disgusting, so I didn't have any, though other people said they were good).

In short, it was a success.

It was also lots of fun to hang out with the family.  Even though we live within an hour or two of each of them, we don't get to see them very much, mainly because they live an hour or two away.

Anyway, with an 18 pound turkey, even though we insisted that our family take some with them (they didn't seem to mind too much), we still had lots of leftovers.  Over the weekend I made a batch of my "award-winning" chili, substituting leftover turkey for the beef, but keeping the pork.  It was an all-white-meat chili.  I still plan on posting the chili recipe here at some point, I promise.

Cathy also made a damn good stock out of the turkey carcass plus some onion, celery, and seasonings.  Then she used some of the stock to make turkey noodle soup.  We also had turkey tacos.  And turkey sandwiches.  So many turkey sandwiches.

Fortunately, all the turkey is now either gone or is in soup or chili in the freezer.  I think I've had enough for a while.

And Now, A Musical Interlude

After posting a Tortoise video in my last blog, I realized this is the video I should've posted instead. It's not that the music is any better here than in the live video--it's just that this video is a lot of fun, especially for someone into photography like I am. Here it is:

Reading Materials

This one is going to be a long one.  Cue the obligatory "That's what she said" joke...

In Closing

Do me a favor, drop by check out my friend Erin's new website, Cross Sectional Views. She's a great writer, and her posts are insightful and always worth a read.

Now here it is, your moment of Tucker (taken last August):


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Blogger jessica said...

Rob - looks like you guys had a great holiday! I am really interested to see how your education of HTML and Javascript goes. That is one of those things I really, really need to spend time doing but just can never seem to be bothered so let me know how the process goes.

Hello to Cathy and Tucker - hopefully we'll see each other in December - I'll be home for a quick week.

5:59 AM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger Rob said...

Thanks Jess. I'm using the online tutorials found here. So far so good. We'll definitely have to meet up when you're out here. I hope DC is treating you well.

8:36 AM, December 01, 2011  
Anonymous Matt said...

Wish I could have been there to enjoy the turkey with the family. Glad it turned out well.
Enjoyed the Kindergarden Cop reference bro!

7:33 AM, December 06, 2011  
Blogger Rob said...

Thanks Matt. See you in a week or so.

2:59 PM, December 09, 2011  

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